Penn field hockey can handle tough competition.
With a signature win against No. 10 Syracuse last weekend, the No. 21 Quakers are in position to make it to the NCAA championship if they win out in their final three games. Two of them will come against Brown and Providence this weekend.
“We kept our heads, and obviously it worked out best for us,” senior Alexa Hoover said of the Syracuse win. “Hopefully [Saturday's game] showed everyone that our team is capable of beating a top-ten team, and we are in the same realm as them.”
Penn (8-6, 3-2 Ivy) will face Ivy-winless Brown (1-14, 0-5) on Saturday before facing stiffer competition versus Providence (10-6) on Sunday. Even if the Quakers win twice this weekend and keep their NCAA Tournament hopes alive, they will still face a behemoth in Princeton next week for their season finale.
“If we can win out and hopefully other things outside of our control happen, maybe we’ll have a shot at the NCAA tournament,” Hoover said. “But, as of right now, all we can do is focus on Brown and Providence and Princeton.”
The game against Brown will be extra important for one Quaker as junior back Karen Seid will be facing off against her twin sister Ellie, who plays attack for the Bears.
While Penn has overcome a lot to get to this point, the team still feels like it has a lot to improve in the upcoming games.
“I think our biggest issues were trying to mentally overcome the fact that we’re playing with a bunch of injuries, and we tried our best to keep our focus,” Hoover said. “We knew we could beat [the top-ranked teams], and just to be that close to beating them and then not do it is frustrating, but we try not to let it bother us.”
And while the team is focused on moving onto its next games, it's clear that the win over Syracuse — which knocked the Orange down in the rankings to No. 14 in the nation — has done a lot for the players' confidence.
“It kind of helps yourself and your teammates gain perspective,” said Hoover, who hit an astonishing volley that became the game-winning goal against Syracuse. “Like, we are really good, we do deserve to be here and we're gonna just keep doing what we know how to do.”
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